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Kai Zhuang Shum

Assistant Professor


Kai grew up in Malaysia and had the privilege to study abroad in Wisconsin and Florida. Kai and her partner, Blake were happy to settle in beautiful East Tennessee and be a part of the UT family. She identifies as Chinese and loves all Asian food. Kai and Blake also have two cats and a dog. Some fun facts about Kai: she loves travelling and speaks three languages.


  • Initiating and sustaining culturally inclusive school mental health research and services
  • Integrating motivational interviewing and positive psychology interventions in school-based mental health services
  • Supporting the unique needs of students in accelerated curricula (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and gifted programs)


  •  PhD, School Psychology, University of South Florida, 2020
  • MA, School Psychology, University of South Florida, 2016
  • BA, Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2014

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Professional Service

  • Invited Panelist, Motivational Interviewing in Education: What do We Know and Where do We Go from Here? Sixth International Conference on Motivational Interviewing (2022)
  • Manuscript Reviewer, School Mental Health and Journal of School Psychology (since 2022)
  • Invited Panelist, International Student Experiences Panel, University of South Florida College of Education (2020)

Awards and Recognitions

  • Staff That Are Remarkable (STAR) Award by Pinellas County Schools (2019)
  • Faye Henderson Exemplary Leadership Award for Minority Students, Florida Association of School Psychologists (FASP) (2018)
  • University Graduate Fellowship, USF Graduate School (2015)


  • Castillo, J., Wang, H. H., Daye, J., Shum, K. Z., March, A. (2017). A longitudinal analysis of the relations between professional development, educators’ beliefs and perceived skills, and RtI implementation. Journal of Educational & Psychological Consultation.
  • Parker, J., Shum, K. Z., Suldo, S., Shaunessy-Dedrick, E., Ferron, J., & Dedrick, R. (2019). Predictors of adaptive help seeking across male and female high school students enrolled in college level courses. Psychology in the Schools.
  • Suldo, S., Fefer, S., & Shum, K. Z. (in print). Positive psychology in group therapy. In Christner, R. W., Stewart, J. L., & Mulligan, C. (Eds.), Handbook of cognitive-behavior group therapy for children and adolescents (second edition).
  • Shum, K. Z., Suldo, S., Shaunessy-Dedrick, E., O’Brennan, L. (under review). A qualitative exploration of the facilitators and barriers of cognitive engagement among high school students in accelerated curricula. Manuscript under review at Journal of Advanced Academics.

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